14 September 2017

African Press Review 14 September 2017

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The Kenyan opposition says there will be no election rerun next month unless its demands are met. South Africa's richest man says the country is being ruled by thieves. And South Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal region is on the brink of war.

There's no light at the end of the Kenyan election tunnel.

The main story in this morning's Daily Nation says that the game of political brinkmanship continued yesterday, putting in jeopardy the possibility of holding a peaceful and mutually accepted repeat presidential election on 17 October.

The opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa), in a clear hardening of its position, said not only will it not participate in the fresh election if its demands are not met, but neither will it allow Jubilee to go to the polls alone.

It was not immediately clear what the coalition's principals meant by "not allowing" the repeat polls until their demands which include sacking and prosecuting election officials responsible for bungling the nullified presidential poll in 8 August are met.

President Uhuru Kenyatta immediately dismissed Nasa's threat as further antagonising of Kenyan voters.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has invited the opposition coalition's leadership for talks but Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi said they would not attend.

What is radical economic transformation?

South Africa's richest man, Johann Rupert, says "radical economic transformation", the policy championed by President Jacob Zuma to reduce racial inequality, is another name for daylight robbery.

What's happening, according to Rupert, is that "They are raiding the state's coffers." And, he adds "it's public knowledge." The "they" in question are not specifically identified but financial newspaper BusinessDay provides a few hints.

The wealthy and influential Gupta family at the centre of the "state capture" case are mentioned. BusinessDay reminds us that a study released in March by a team of academics concluded that Zuma, the Guptas and their allies had orchestrated "a silent coup", securing control over key positions in the state, enabling them to allegedly steal billions of rand. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

Gates slams planned US budget cuts

Speaking of billionaires, Microsoft founder Bill Gates says cuts to foreign aid threaten the world's chances of ending poverty and eradicating disease by 2030, with particularly dire consequences for Africa's HIV/Aids efforts.

This story makes several continental front pages.

A 10 percent cut in Aids funding could lead to the deaths of 5.6 million people by 2030, Gates said at the publication of a report from his charitable foundation on how the world is progressing towards 18 of the health and poverty-related targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The US is, of course, the world's biggest contributor to the global fight against HIV/Aids and in 2016 contributed nearly 4.5 billion euros to the effort. President Donald Trump wants to cut that contributioin by one billion euros next year.

It has been calculated that Trump's plan to cut foreign aid supporting HIV/Aids treatment could cost nine million years of lost lives in South Africa and Côte d'Ivoire alone.

Another South Sudan region on brink of war

South Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal region is on the brink of war according to this morning's Sudan Tribune.

The report says war could break out if former army chief of staff Paul Malong Awan is allowed to leave the country.

In May Awan was sacked by President Salva Kiir and replaced by the former deputy chief of general staff for administration and finance, Lt Gen. James Ajongo Mawut.

Earlier this month, Awan was blacklisted by the US for his alleged role in undermining peace and stability in South Sudan. The Juba government fears that he could leave a dangerous power gap in his native state and might become a rallying figure for anti-Kir parties in exile.

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